The Council of American Islamic Relations of Florida has requested a Department of Education inquiry into the expulsion of 15-year-old Jad Abughamda boy who was expelled from Pine Crest School in Florida due to his mother’s social media posts in support of Palestine.
Attending a news conference with his mother, Abughamda expressed he was “disappointed and sad,” detailing that “I didn’t do anything at all.”
The school fired his mother, Dr. Maha Almasri, a Palestinian-American who had worked as a Math tutor at Pine Crest, and expelled him last month.
The incident occurred as a result of several postings on her personal Instagram account that Pine Crest deemed “hateful and incendiary,” which she argues against.
Almasri expressed sadness that her child was “deprived of finishing his high school career” at CAIR Florida’s office.
The school issued a statement accusing Almasri of posting images such as a “soldier pointing a machine gun at an infant inside of an incubator and an image with commentary suggesting that some wanted to roast babies in an oven.”
Free speech suppression
She affirmed that “none of my posts were inciting violence, they were merely shedding light on what was happening, the humanitarian crisis that was happening in Gaza.”
Omar Saleh, attorney for CAIR representing Almasri and her son, said,
This is about Jad’s expulsion, he did nothing but is suffering consequences, we feel just by association.
The school has responded by saying it reserves the right to “take the action that it deems necessary” if a parent “engages in behavior that is disruptive, intimidating, or overly aggressive” or “interferes… with the school’s… safety procedures, responsibilities, or the accomplishment of its educational purpose or program.”
The school alleges it has previously expelled a child for their parent’s actions and claims it asked Almasri to remove her “inflammatory” posts numerous times.
Imam Abdullah Jaber, Executive Director of CAIR Florida, believes the actions taken by the school are a suppression of free speech.
CAIR said it seeks to prevent other Arabs, Muslims, and pro-Palestinian persons from arbitrary punishment for criticizing “Israel’s” conduct by asking for a DOE inquiry into Jad’s expulsion and the charges made against Almasri based on her tweets.
“We have to get real. Speech because it’s sympathetic to Palestinians or because it’s critical to Israeli military or because it evokes a sense of conscience for humanity, it doesn’t make it antisemitic, it doesn’t make it anti-Jewish, it’s not disruptive and it’s not inciteful,” Saleh argued.
Earlier in November, a report by Axios showed that Palestine, especially in light of the Israeli war against Gaza, has become a deeply divisive topic among Americans. Anti-zionist discourse has grown increasingly amplified, especially on college campuses, getting wrongfully framed as anti-semitic, while Zionist-sympathizers have resorted to Islamophobic bigotry.
Israeli lobby silences persecutes Pro-Palestine Harvard students
Israeli lobbies have recently sought to persecute pro-Palestine students at the university level as well.
Pro-Palestinian students have expressed concern over pro-Israeli donors’ strategy to legally target organizations like Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace.
In one such instance, billionaire Harvard Alum Bill Ackman wields influence to suppress pro-Palestinian voices, leading a crackdown on pro-Palestinian groups on campus, which raised concerns about free speech and activism.
The plan involves leveraging legal tools, filing lawsuits against pro-Palestinian individuals and groups, publicizing their names to impact their employment, and obstructing their chances of finding a job in the U.S.
The multi-part plan to silence free speech on campus also seeks to undermine funding for pro-Palestinian groups, pressure university heads by identifying donors, and advocate for economic sanctions on institutions receiving federal or state public funding.